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China Letter-News and Human Rights

China human rights news with focus on the Uygur of Xinjiang, Tibetans and Tibet, Chinese mining workers, religion, corruption and censorship.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

35 Days In East Turkistan

35 Days In East turkistan Article"T



When one supports a cause from afar one can be forgiven for those occasional quiet moments, late at night, sitting alone in front of a computer screen, when he thinks to himself "Is it all worth it? What difference can my small 'blog' or websites or forum posts or "Letters to the Editor" make?

Then you read the detractors who accuse you of "China bashing".

"Does not China, after all, have 1.3 billion people to worry about?" they say "Must not that the rights of a small minority come behind the welfare of such a huge mass of humanity?"

"Anyway" they intone "the Uygur people are happy, their position is much better today than in previous years"

The doubts can come to one far from Xinjiang and the peoples he admires so much. After all even the "official" Uygur organisations on the web are far less active then they were a couple of years ago. Their message boards are getting thinner, the "Latest News From Xinjiang" is very late in deed, not in time line but in age.

Then you read an article like the one cited above and you feel the stirring once again, nay a strong emotion, one that does not just stir but jumps inside your heart. Then you remember why you do it and all of a sudden your small "blog" is important for if there were but 100 small "blogs"....? if there were a few more posts to message boards...? if the Uygur organisations dusted themselves off and realised that inertia had set in and say "hey I remember why I did this originally, lets do it again with the same fervour" then things can be changed.

We may have forgotten the life the Uygur of Xinjiang must live but I can assure you they have not. We may no longer be as attuned to the daily deprivations of life and liberty they must live under, they will have not. When you read this sitting at your computer you will not have the Internet Cafe owner looking over your shoulder ready to report you, they do.

We may have forgotten them but they will not have forgotten us, they will not have forgotten the promises we made so boldly from our warm heaths in Munich, Istanbul and Washington in the heady days after Gulja and the ensuing executions and mass detentions.

I thank the authoress of this article for the re-enforcement it has provided me and I admire her courage for going back and doing what she did. Now, if we can only "go back" and do what we have to do, that is to maintain peaceful but consistent pressure on the PRC to achieve basic human rights and cultural self determination for the Uygur people of Xinjiang.

Let us show them that we have not forgotten them after all.